Bamyan in afghanistan predating european oil painting by
They were intentionally dynamited and destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were “idols” (which are forbidden under Sharia law).
International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban and of Islamism.
The Silk Road is a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of Western Asia.
Until the 11th century, Bamyan was part of the kingdom of Gandhara.
The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang passed through the area around 630 and described Bamyan as a flourishing Buddhist center “with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks”.
He also noted that both Buddha figures were “decorated with gold and fine jewels” (Wriggins, 1995).
This coating, practically all of which was worn away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.
The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures.
Many of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly-colored frescoes. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamyan Valley.
Intriguingly, Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha.